Michael Cusack Biography

Michael Cusack is an Irish abstract artist based in Byron Bay, Australia. His gestural, painterly works hint at domestic scenes and natural beauty, often in neutral, earthly tones.

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Born in Dublin, Ireland, Cusack emigrated to Australia in 1982, where he has lived and worked ever since. In 1997, he received a Diploma in Fine Arts from the Hunter Institute of Technology in Newcastle, before going on to earn a Master of Visual Arts from Queensland College of Art at Griffith University in Brisbane.

Intimation Through Abstraction

Cusack's abstract works play with ideas of setting and place through both palette and shape. Paintings like Four Score (Abstract Painting) (2018) present familiar forms and shadows through swatches of colour and suggested planes. The texture and contrast of bright colours against cool, neutral tones intimates a connection to the world and our lived experiences, while mixed media works like The other house (2016) assert a more playful, coastal presence. Distinct yet consistent, his paintings are reminiscent of a wide range of influences, including Philip Guston, Richard Diebenkorn, Jannis Kounellis, and Jonas Wood.


Cusack has won multiple awards throughout his career, including the AGNSW, Cité Internationale Des Arts, Paris Residency (2014); the Mattara Art Award from the Newcastle Arts Society (2002); The Weston Regional Art Award in both 1998 and 1999; and several more.


Michael Cusack's solo exhibitions include An Image seeks an Image, Karen Woodbury Gallery, Melbourne (2016); The Same and the Other, Tweed River Art Gallery, South Murwillumbah (2015); Cité Internationale des arts, Open Studio, Paris (2014); Still Life, Martin Browne Contemporary, Sydney (2012); Aperture, Jan Murphy Gallery, Queensland (2010); Archive, Martin Browne Contemporary, Sydney (2009); Michael Cusack, Martin Browne Contemporary at Silvershot Gallery, Melbourne (2005); New Works, Martin Browne Contemporary, Sydney (2004); and more.

Cusack's group exhibitions include We're Closer than you think, Artstate, Lismore (2017); Out with the Old, M Arts, Murwillumbah (2017); Direction Now, Lismore Regional Gallery and Caboolture Regional Gallery (2015); Jacaranda Drawing Prize, Grafton Regional Art Gallery (2015); and Direction Now, Glasshouse Regional Gallery, Port Macquarie (2014), and more.

Michael Cusack's work is held in multiple collections, including Abn Amro Artbank, Sydney; BHP Billiton, Melbourne; Macquarie Bank, Sydney; Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery; Lismore Regional Art Gallery; Newcastle Region Art Gallery; Hatton Gallery at Newcastle University, Tyne; Newcastle Museum; Port Macquarie Museum; Tweed River Art Gallery, Wycombe; and private collections across Australia, Asia, and Europe.


On Ocula, the artist is represented by Martin Browne Contemporary. Recent exhibitions hosted by Martin Browne Contemporary include New Works (2018), No Matter (2016), and Axiom (2014).


The artist's website can be found here.

Sarah Foreman | Ocula | 2021

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